• Paula

Steppin’ OUT....

Let me tell you a little bit about me. I love routine. My alarm goes off at the same time every day. I get the same train - even getting on in the same spot. I wash my hair every other day. I always do my eyebrows before any other bit of makeup (after foundation obvs, I’m not a complete animal!). I have been known to eat the same breakfast and lunch choices for a whole week. My internal body alarm for bed goes off around 9pm each nigh and if I want to stay up later, I have to fight it, but most of the time I don’t want to.

I hate all sports. Watching and partaking. I work out purely for necessity and vanity and also so I can consume more calories - mostly wine calories. Invite me to drinks at half an hours notice and I have a melt down.... I’m a planner, an organiser, a scheduler. I don’t often go ‘off the grid’.

So when a charity I like to work with (Teens Unite Fighting Cancer) asked me to do a ’challenge’ for them to raise money and awareness, I first considered if I would need a frontal lobotomy to be able to cope. I read the itinerary with wide eyes. Every past time that I could possibly hate was included (sleeping outside, walking long distances, no running water, no heels blah blah), but hey, I was raising money for charity, it needed to be hard. These youngsters go through hell with their cancer treatments so surely I could suffer some hardship for a week?

’Bring it on’ I thought ‘How bad could it be?’

Oh did people laugh and take the pee out of me, in fact it definitely helped me raised more cash - the very thought of me wearing zero make up and throwing myself up and down the Grand Canyon tickled many people that know me well.

And so after nearly 10 months of planning and raising money, buying equipment (swapping Net-a-Porter stalking for Millets wasn't my finest hour) and wearing in trekking boots - off I went to face my nemesis - an Indian reservation in the soddin' middle of the Grand Canyon. I’m not gonna lie, brickin’ it didn‘t cover how I felt.

Without giving you a blow by blow account of each day (you can see this on my Instagram account @cityfashgal if you’re interested), let’s summarise what I went through and my thoughts afterwards on stepping outside of ones comfort zone....

. I CAN cope with being unwashed and without make up for a week. I can cope very well in fact and so can my skin.

. Waking up and not really knowing what will happen today is quite exciting. Who knew?

. Taking each day as it comes and not thinking further than the end of your nose now and then is refreshing.

. Having no phone signal for 4 days is heaven on earth.

. The body is a remarkable bit of kit... You are always stronger than you think.

. When you think you 'can't' do something - have a go. Most things aren't as bad as your mind makes out and what's the worst that can happen?

. Trying something new that makes you a little bit scared does wonders for your outlook on life.

DISCLAIMER: there is was one point on the whole journey when I actually thought I might die. We climbed (this wasn't in the itinerary under 'things you might do that would null and void any insurance you have) down Mooney Falls - a 200 foot waterfall. You know, just casually rock climbing with no harness, helmet, a few chains, slippy as fook and the odd rung to use as leverage in some water shoes. Around 100 foot down, I decided this wasn't for me, FK your trying something new and I wanted to go home. Now. Funnily enough, with 30 people behind me, getting off this MO-FO wasn't an option so I needed to dig deep and get on with it. I was coached down by a very patient guide who told me 'Come on, you can do this'... And I did. And whilst I NEVER want an actual Mooney Falls moment again (climbing back up wasn't half as bad can I add), I will print off this pic and pin it to my desk at work. Whenever I think I can't do something every again, I have a meeting I'm dreading or I need to woman up and get with a task I might hate, I shall refer to this moment in my life....

Someone told me this week that I looked 'ten years younger' and like I 'had sunshine coming from my face'. No, he wasn't after money nor trying to woo me apparently but telling the story of my adventure apparently has given me a spring in my step. Perhaps stepping out of the routine isn't that bad after all...

What are you going to do to get outside of your comfort zone gals?



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